Saturday, November 15, 2008

How To Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes

You might think that making mashed potatoes is almost as easy as boiling water. But how many of us has had lumpy spuds or mashed potatoes so gloopy that they could be used as wallpaper paste? I won't go as far to say that there is an art to making a good batch, but there certainly are a few things you can do to help yourself become the Mashed Potato Master...

Here are the secrets:

1. The Potato:
Use Russets or Yukon Gold Potatoes-or, for best results, use both!
Russet potatoes are high in starch and make a less gluey dish.
Yukon Golds are an all purpose potato with a yellow flesh and a buttery flavor
*Use 2 pounds of potatoes to yield 4-6 servings.

2. Cooking Method Counts:
For best results, cook your spuds WITH THE SKINS ON!
This method allows the potatoes to retain their starch and nutrients
It also prevents the potatoes from being waterlogged
*Scrub and wash the taters, cook them in salted water, peel & chop them while hot.

3. The Mixers:
Use 8 Tablespoons of MELTED butter for every 2 #'s of potatoes
Use WARM Half & Half: 1 Cup for every 2#'s should do ya

4. The Execution: Ricers, Food Mills, No-No's and when to add the stuff

A. To make the smoothest mashed potatoes, use a potato ricer or a food mill. As a chef, my preference is a Food Mill. They are a bit pricey, however and a ricer produces a similar product for less money. Squish your spuds in either device while hot.
*Using a potato masher is not recommended...this produces what you call "home-style" potatoes-which is a nice way to say: Lumpy. Also, using a masher may overwork the starch in said potatoes therefore creating...glue. NEVER use an electric mixer of any kind when working with potatoes. Unless of course, you are wallpapering your kitchen, and need something to hang it with. :)

B. Add the melted butter first. This will coat the starch molecules which will help prevent a gloopy mess. Yes, that is a professional culinary term. After you've added the melted butter, slowly add the warm 1/2 & 1/2 by folding it in gently. Season as you like after this step. I recommend salt & white pepper.


Linda said...

To this day, I remember the mashed potato lessons that my Aunt Mary gave to me when I was in 7th grade and assigned the task of mashing them for our family Sunday dinner at my grandfather's house. She was a cook and took great pride in having perfectly whipped mashed potatoes!

Personally, I kind of like mine with a lump or two and if the skins are left on even better but truth be told, there probably isn't a batch of mashed potatoes out there I don't like (unless, of course, it's one being used as wallpaper paste!).

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